ShopBot Tools, one of the largest manufacturers of CNC routers in the US, has launched a rapidly growing “virtual workshop” for ShopBot customers and CNC users. While individuals, businesses, and educational institutions work to adapt to the changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, ShopBot is stepping forward to help. The Virtual ShopBot Workshop is part of a commitment that ShopBot made 24 years ago – to make CNC accessible to small and mid-sized manufacturing. Part of that commitment is expressed in the agile design and functionality of our tools; the other part in providing top tier education, training, information, and world class support.
“ShopBot is unlike any other CNC company – we build our own tools and we use our tools to make things; we use them in production, and we use them in our own home shops. We understand the applications. We appreciate concerns of new users and of experienced users. We know how to put the tools to work. The Virtual Workshop lets us share the experience and expertise of ShopBot employees who have worked with CNC technology in production as well as in their own shops.” ShopBot, COO, Jeanne Taylor, continues “We make it a point to stay engaged with our customers and if, because of the challenges in this new world, we can’t do it in person then we’ll do it online, over the phone, and via video conference platforms. If this is the new normal – we’re all in – here in the US designing, building, and helping CNC tool owners succeed in this new future.”
From the ShopBot website, the Virtual ShopBot Workshop provides at-a-glance links to live demos and recorded trainings. Viewers can also virtually tour production sites and workshops, which include both new and old tools in use, even a 20+ year-old ShopBot still at work.
ShopBot engineers host live demos and trainings at least two times per week. Participants may IM chat with the trainer during the training and ask questions at the end in an interactive forum. These trainings are then recorded and curated on ShopBot’s website for at-a-glance reference. Ryan Patterson, a product engineer at ShopBot, adds, “We enjoy being able to share tips and techniques live, and sometimes even our own mishaps, with our customers. It’s important to us that they continue to maximize their skills and use of our tools.”
The Virtual ShopBot Workshop recently launched the entertaining ‘Stuart & Bill Show’ which gives the viewer an opportunity to sit back and enjoy conversations and project discussions between two long-time woodworkers and friends: Stuart Kent, founder and owner of the North Carolina Furniture School in Farmville, NC and ShopBot’s Bill Young, boat builder, maker, and problem-solver. Jen Nix, ShopBot’s Marketing Manager says “We’re excited to see where Stuart and Bill take the show as it continues to move forward! They cover a wide variety of content of interest to CNC enthusiasts, no matter where they are in their CNC journey – recent topics have ranged from techniques for vacuum hold down to creating furniture that is longer than the bed of the tool.”
Visit and share: www.shopbottools.com/virtualworkshop to access the actively growing list of online content related to CNC during this time of stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions across the US. With questions or to request additional information please reach out to marketing@ShopBotTools.com
About ShopBot Tools, Inc. (www.shopbottools.com)
Founded in 1996, ShopBot's mission is to make the empowering technology of digital fabrication widely accessible and usable. ShopBot's CNC tools, working across a range of sizes, deliver the power, precision and reliability of digital tools costing thousands of dollars more. ShopBot tools are designed and built in Durham, North Carolina, USA.
The global spread of the Coronavirus poses unknown challenges for all of us. We hope that you, your family, friends, and co-workers are safe and well. As we navigate this crisis together, we would like you to know that the CMA is committed to providing service to our members, especially in this time of need, and to continue to address the needs of small businesses in the woodworking industry.
We will support you and your business needs while at the same time doing all we can to not spread the sickness. This is a strange time with a lot of uncertainty, but there are things we can all do to help. By now most of us have heard these things a thousand times, but they are still important:
Read more advice from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
In addition, there have been concerns about how to address the situation if your business has to shut down due to the virus. Fortunately, Congress has already passed several bills offering relief to small businesses, and we encourage you to check them out: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Because of the current concerns, we have cancelled our April 22 regional event in Charlotte, NC. We will keep you posted when a new date is determined.
Woodworking Network has compiled a helpful summary of other industry disruptions and cancellations: https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/woodworking-industry-disruptions-and-cancellations-coronavirus-update
We encourage you to stay connected and keep building your business as much as possible. In the next few weeks, we plan to host a webinar to introduce our new website program for members. Stay tuned for the date and time. Also, be sure to stay in touch on the forums: ask questions and also provide answers and assistance when possible. Now is the time, more than ever, to rely on CMA members and our collective resources. Together we will work on solutions during this challenging situation.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today published “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” to help companies respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace. The guidance was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
The document provides practical guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, and contains information on safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment based on the risk level of exposure.
“Protecting the health and safety of America’s workforce is a key component of this Administration’s comprehensive approach to combating the coronavirus,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “This guidance outlines practical ways that employers and workers can address potential health risks from the coronavirus in their workplaces.”
This guidance is part of the Department of Labor’s ongoing efforts to educate the workers and employers about the COVID-19 outbreak.
For further information about Coronavirus, please visit the HHS’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Automation improvements for jobs that require multiple processes
As part of Hexagon’s philosophy of supporting data-driven smart factories, the latest release of ALPHACAM CAD/CAM software speeds up how jobs that require several processes are managed.
A new job type has been introduced in ALPHACAM 2020.1. The new “Multiple Process Jobs” functionality makes it simpler to create jobs and orders in the ALPHACAM Automation Manager for jobs that need to be output to more than one machine, or that require secondary processing at the same machine.
“In the past, users had to create multiple jobs to process complex operations in Automation Manager,” said Product Manager Chip Martin. “Now, a single job can be created, containing all the different machines and manufacturing processes that the part goes through.”
He highlights an example of machining the top and back of a part. In the latest version of the software, those two processes can easily be worked as a single job. “NC code will simply be created for both of them automatically, which is also the case for additional machines and other processes.”
This improvement streamlines how complex manufacturing processes are handled in the ALPHACAM Automation Manager. “Once the process is defined, and the ‘Multiple Process Job’ is created, the operator can easily repeat the same complex job many times for different parts. Also, the user interface will help show exactly which processes and machines the part will go through.”
Several enhancements have been made to Automation Manager’s output file options. Firstly, the new ‘File Name Configuration’ dialog creates names from job information, job files, or any custom text.
Secondly, a number of improvements to Report Creation include the ability to generate up to four different layouts, which can also be printed. All the materials being used can be included in one report, and a report can be produced for each material and each nested sheet.
“This fine-tune control means users can tailor Automation Manager output entirely to their specific requirements.”
The Rough/Finish of solid faces with Tool Side function now supports cylindrical faces to be machined. Planar and cylindrical faces can be combined in a single selection. For solid faces that are perpendicular or undercuts, an active work plane can be used to define the preferred approach angle (scanning direction).
“In the previous release, we introduced the ability to machine solid faces directly for rough/finish and sawing,” Martin said. “This has now been enhanced to allow simple planar faces to be machined without creating new geometry.”
Cylindrical faces as well as planar faces can now be selected, and ALPHACAM automatically finds the best angle for machining them. This calculation is carried out while keeping a fixed angle for the tool in a work plane, guaranteeing that most controllers will be able to support compensation (G41/G42), and Lead-In/Out generated by ALPHACAM.
“Before this improvement, users had to carry out several steps to machine a selection of faces using the tool side. Now, instead of creating workplanes and extracting geometries, they simply select the faces for machining and ALPHACAM calculates the required tool angle and workplane to machine a selection of faces. This is a real time saver.”
Stone companies will find specific improvements for waterjet cutting, and for sawing surfaces and solids. ALPHACAM 2020.1 includes a waterjet tool as well as new machining cycles. Users can now create waterjet tools and specify parameters specific to waterjet cutting. Abrasive Flow Rates can be defined in the new tool type, as well as how far the nozzle should be from the top of the material.
In addition to the existing machining cycles, the latest release introduces three waterjet operations which can follow a profile, clear areas, or cut and pierce holes, in both 3- and 5-axis machining. A simulation can be run to check for possible collisions between the nozzle and material.
“The software has been successfully driving waterjet and saw + waterjet machine tools for many years,” Martin said, “but this new waterjet tool and cycles provide a consistent and highly professional way of calculating toolpaths.”
The new release now defines boundaries when cutting surfaces and solids with a disc/saw. Users define multiple boundaries, and ALPHACAM will avoid machining those areas. “This gives much better control, making it possible to avoid areas which should be machined in another step, and even avoid other machine components.”
About Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division
Hexagon is a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions. We are putting data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, and quality across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, safety, and mobility applications.
Our technologies are shaping urban and production ecosystems to become increasingly connected and autonomous – ensuring a scalable, sustainable future.
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division provides solutions that utilize data from design and engineering, production and metrology to make manufacturing smarter. For more information, visit hexagonmi.com.
Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has approximately 20,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 3.8bn EUR. Learn more at hexagon.com and follow us @HexagonAB.
Power tool innovator releases "Emerald Edition" tools, plus sweepstakes to spend the day with a Festool trainer
Building on nearly a century of precision-engineered power tool solutions globally, Festool USA is celebrating its 20th year of business in the U.S.— the brand’s emerald anniversary — with a special limited release of its Emerald Edition tools. The Emerald Edition collection consists of six precision-engineered tool options, each of which is housed in limited-edition Blue Systainer packaging. And there’s more: each Emerald Edition tool includes an assortment of complementary accessories worth up to $136 in value.
“Our goal with the Emerald Edition celebration is to honor our loyal customers with an incredible value and a real ‘thank you,’ as well,” stated Rick Bush, Vice President of Marketing for Festool. “The handsome Emerald Blue Systainers not only help keep craftsmen organized and boost productivity, but also will remind them of our appreciation for the 20-year journey that we have shared together. At the same time, the accompanying accessories are bonuses that every Festool user will surely appreciate.”
Emerald Celebration Extends to Sweepstakes for Craftsmen
As a part of the anniversary celebration, passionate craftsmen now have a chance to learn from some of the most knowledgeable Festool trainers with the Emerald Edition Sweepstakes. When participants purchase and register their Emerald Edition tools, they are entered for the Grand Prize of receiving a trip to Festool USA Headquarters in Lebanon, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis. The sweepstakes winners will spend a full day with a Festool expert-trainer and deepen their appreciation for their craft, as well as Festool’s product lineup. For full details about the sweepstakes and official rules, visit festoolusa.com/sweepstakes.
“The Emerald Edition tools, as well as the sweepstakes event, have been well received in the marketplace since their recent unveiling,” Bush said. “These limited-edition tools and the sweepstakes present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for skilled specialists. We are delighted to celebrate the Festool brand with tradesmen who demand unmatched precision and performance, a standard that Festool has delivered on in North America for the last 20 years.”
Founded in Germany in 1925, Festool is known for its innovative, precision-engineered power tool solutions. Based in Lebanon, IN, Festool USA offers a comprehensive lineup of power tools and system accessories, designed to boost productivity through efficiency and high performance. For more information, visit www.festoolusa.com.
On August 27, 2019, the AWI Board of Directors reviewed the AWI Executive Vice President Search Committee's report and recommendation of Mr. Doug Hague as Philip Duvic's successor effective January 1, 2020. Following the Board's unanimous vote on that recommendation, Directors enthusiastically endorsed Mr. Hague in his new role as the AWI EVP. Mr. Duvic has been associated with AWI since November 2000 and was appointed as Executive Vice President in 2005. Mr. Hague previously held the title of AWI Education Director since July 2016.
Prior to the Board's vote, Doug Mock, chair of the EVP Search Committee connected to the Board meeting by teleconference call and reported that nearly eighty (80) applicants were received and reviewed in the selection process which resulted in a selection of three (3) qualified finalist EVP candidates. Each of the three (3) finalist candidates was interviewed by the EVP Search Committee in face to face meetings earlier this month. At the conclusion of those interviews, the EVP Search Committee selected Mr. Hague as their recommended EVP candidate for consideration by the AWI Board of Directors.
In September through December, Mr. Duvic and Hague will be working together to ensure a successful transition and hand-off into his new role as the AWI Executive Vice President. That transition process will include a number of face-to-face meetings and conference calls, some of which will include many AWI members of the AWI Staff Team.
The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) is a nonprofit trade association founded in 1953. Today, AWI represents nearly 3000 members consisting of architectural woodworkers, suppliers, design professionals and students from around the world. For more information - www.awinet.org
The skies are clear. The river is at its normal level. Authorities are reporting a low risk of wildfire. Fault lines have been quiet. It’s tempting to operate your business as if these will always be the case. But what will you do when disaster strikes? Ask any business owner who has been through a disaster — thorough preparation makes all the difference.
When you experience a catastrophe, the trauma and stress make it difficult, if not impossible, to think clearly enough to begin setting things right. And unless you’ve collected all the documents and information you need for operational continuity, you’ll have a hard time getting things moving again.
Federated Mutual Insurance Company® offers the resources you need to prepare your business for a disaster with the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Open for Business-EZ® program. The program, available online or in print, guides business owners through the process of developing a plan to help keep a business profitable after a disaster.
The toolkit contains documents to record information about the major areas of your business, including basic operations, equipment, employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, finances, and information technology. It also helps you record and assess your risk for a variety of natural and man-made disasters, and test your plan for reaction and recovery. To access the toolkit, visit the IBHS website, or log on to Federated’s Shield Network and click on “IBHS – Disaster Planning.”
The IBHS website also offers a tool that helps users identify threats specific to their geographic region, helping to focus preparedness efforts. It also provides information on best practices, including assessments, guides, and checklists to help prepare for these perils:
The site www.disastersafety.org, is also great for employees of the business to learn how to prepare for disasters. A business cannot recover unless they have employees that can help and employees can’t help the business until they have their own personal situation under control. For more information on OFB-EZ® and the library of other risk management resources Federated Insurance® offers, contact your local Federated marketing representative.
This section of our site contains industry news relevant to CMA members.